The 1947 royal tour in Smuts’s Raj
South African Indian responses
in Royals on tour
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This chapter considers the apparent resurgence of imperial royalism at a moment when a rhetoric of democratic rights and tone of defiance suffused South African Indian political discourse. It explores the deepening of political divisions within the leadership in early 1947. The chapter draws attention to the 'moderates', a grouping marginalised in a dominant historical narrative of Indian politics that prioritises the emergence of progressive cross-racial and transnational alliances that would mobilise against apartheid in succeeding decades. It focuses on positions taken by the moderate leadership during bitter disputes over the visit and sheds light on an alternative, if discredited, trajectory taken in South African Indian politics. Most striking was the 'complete split in the Indian community' that arose from the 'ill-advised' attempts of Congress to boycott the royal visit, giving the moderates an opportunity to challenge the radical leadership.

Royals on tour

Politics, Pageantry and Colonialism


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